‘Real boost’ for Moray from Independence White Paper

Moray will remain at the heart of a Scottish defence force according to the Independence White Paper published by the Scottish Government.

The document launched before hundreds of journalists from throughout the world lays out the aspirations of the SNP Government for an independent Scotland should a Yes vote be secured in the September referendum.

Included in its 670 pages is the intention that Lossiemouth would host the main air base in a new Scottish military force while Kinloss would remain as an infantry barracks.

The paper includes a commitment to procure suitable Maritime Patrol Aircraft – not seen over Scotland since the scrapping of the Nimrod fleet formally based at Kinloss.

Total troop numbers in Scotland would rise to 15,000 – 4,000 more than currently exist – a significant proportion of which would be based in Moray.

In the short term Lossiemouth would be home for a Squadron of 12 Typhoon aircraft with more brought into service at a later date, while the base would also host four Hercules C130 transport aircraft and a squadron of helicopters.

Moray’s MP, Angus Robertson, said last night that the defence plans in the White Paper are a “real boost for Moray and the North East of Scotland”.

He added: “They give long term certainty to our local bases, with widened military capabilities and the prospect of higher personnel numbers being stationed here.

“This is great news for personnel and their families who want a long term future here, able to make better decisions about their home life, schooling arrangements for their children and a more settled and enhanced career path in Scotland.”

The SNP’s defence spokesman at Westminster added that current personnel would be able to transfer to the new Scottish Defence Force and so remain at Lossiemouth or Kinloss if they wished.

However, UK forces would not be forced out of Scotland. Mr Robertson said: “Personnel and squadrons from the rest of the UK can remain with shared basing and training arrangements.”

Patrolling Scotland’s coasts from the air is seen as a vital component of any future Scottish forces, with the MP saying: “The procurement of Maritime Patrol Aircraft will be warmly welcomed and together with commitments to Typhoons, Transportation Aircraft, Helicopters and MPA operating from Scotland we will have the appropriate range of capabilities.

“I would urge people to read this White Paper to get all the details of what would deliver a significant boost for the defence community and the wider economy in Moray.”

The White Paper is available for download in various formats at http://www.scotreferendum.com/

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